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Alcohol Alcohol. 2000 May-Jun;35(3):263-9.

Patterns of drinking in Thai men.

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Department of Psychiatry, Prince of Songkla University, Hatyai, Songkhla, Thailand.


Alcohol problems have increased considerably in Thailand in recent years, in common with many other countries in South East Asia. Little is known about the patterns or contexts of alcohol consumption in these countries, and so efforts to develop preventative strategies have been hampered. To identify current patterns related to alcohol consumption, we recruited 91 alcohol-dependent subjects, 77 hazardous or harmful drinkers, and 144 abstainers or light drinkers. A structured interview incorporating the World Health Organization 'tri-level' method to determine the amount and frequency of drinking, and the Alcohol Use Disorders and Associated Disabilities to diagnose alcohol dependence and harmful drinking was used. Median alcohol intake was 75 and 49 g/drinking day in the alcohol-dependent and harmful or hazardous groups respectively. The former group drank on average 25 days/month, whereas the harmful or hazardous drinkers drank 10 days/month. Drinking alone was more common in the alcohol-dependent group (67%), whereas harmful or hazardous drinkers typically drank with friends (58%), and infrequent drinkers drank only at social functions (61%). Only 28% of alcohol-dependent subjects perceived themselves as dependent on alcohol. The alcohol-dependent subjects and hazardous or harmful drinkers were more likely to currently smoke cigarettes and have a history of marijuana use than were non-drinkers, infrequent or light drinkers. Antisocial personality disorder was more commonly associated with alcohol dependence. In conclusion, alcohol dependence was characterized by continual drinking, whereas hazardous or harmful consumption was associated with an intermittent pattern. Other forms of substance use and personality disorder were associated with alcohol dependence. Clearer understanding of these factors would be of great benefit in planning an intervention programme for excessive drinking in Thailand.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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